Blog Archives

Light Rail 101

Tony Arranaga (aka Light Rail Blogger), has developed the following tip sheet for incoming ASU students. The advice was so good that I wanted to share it with DVC readers.

[Source: Light Rail Blogger]

Tony Arranaga; Photograph Courtesy LightRailBlogger.com

Phoenix is gearing up for an influx of new residents as students arrive for the first week of school at the downtown campus of Arizona State University. In an effort to get more people using light rail, Barrett Honors College asked me to list some information for incoming freshman on how to use our public transportation system.

Specifically, the organizers of the Barrett Urban Experience are looking to show points of interest along the light rail, instead of how to use the light rail in this part of the Valley. Below is a list of some popular destinations north of the downtown campus. The information should be helpful to those who are new to our urban core.

1st Ave and Jefferson Station (Eastbound trains only) Use this stop for bothPhoenix City Hall (and the courts) in addition to the new CVS Pharmacyinside CityScape, which is across from the street from the station. CityScape is the new entertainment destination in the heart of the city, with several restaurants, a bowling alley and a comedy club expected to open soon.

Central Station Station ASU campusPhoenix Public Market and the Lincoln Family Y are popular destinations at this station. The market, located two blocks north of the station, offers a wide selection of locally grown produce and other grocery store items, in addition to local coffee bar favorite Royal at the Market(here). Many students usually grab a cup here before class.

McDowell and Central Station The restaurant My Florist Cafe (five blocks west of the station) is a good place for a date, Giant Coffee is a great place to read while enjoying a cup of coffee, and next door is Bunky Boutique (both are one block east of the station) where you can find stylish fashion for him and her . Also, with Hallooween around the corner, you’ll want to look for Easley’s Costumeswhich is directly across the street from My Florist. Easley’s has one of the largest selections of costumes and accessories in the city.

Thomas and Central Station St Joseph’s Hospital is three blocks west of the station on Thomas, in addition to Park Central Mall (north end of platform) which is home to popular breakfast joint The Good Egg (here).

Campbell and Central Station Central High School is located here, but you’ll be more interested in hot spots Lux Coffee BarPane Bianco for killer italian gourmet sandwhiches, and Slippery Pig Bikes.

Camelback and Central Station is directly across the street from popular record store Stinkweeds, the old school candy store Smeeks, in addition to Francesand Red Hot Robot, which are great locally owned stores where you can buy gifts for all ages.

In addition to these places, you might also want to check out a recent post by guest blogger Si Robins on how he lives car-lite in downtown Phoenix. I also have two short videos on popular destinations near the 3rd and Washington Station and the Central and Washington Station.

Keep in mind that some of these destinations are a bit of a walk from the light rail stations, which is why I use a bike whenever possible. If you’re carfree and need access to a rental, there are two Zipcars at the corner of 1st Street and Fillmore, which is the parking lot on the north side of the Cronkite School. In addition, there are also several taxicab services to help you get around. For more information on these and other transportation services, be sure to read my post on DowntownPhoenix.com. Information on how to ride the light rail can be found here.

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Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike

Visiting the murals in the alley behind 5th St. near Roosevelt (photo source: Tony Arranaga)

[Source: LightRailBlogger.com] — I took my neighbors on a hour long bike tour of downtown Phoenix.  Mike and Jane were not too familiar with the backstory to some of the historic sights in our urban core, so it was fun to give them some background on the landmarks in the heart of the city.

We started in the Evans Churchill neighborhood near 4th Street and Fillmore.  We visited the community garden near Conspire Coffee and the murals in the alley behind 5th Street near Roosevelt in the arts district.  Mike, Jane and I then went to the Phoenix Public Market, the Westward Ho and Civic Space Park.  Our tour then continued south on 1st Avenue to see the Orpheum Lofts, 44 Monroe and the old City Hall.

Next. we made our way over to Hanny’s Restaurant, which used to be home to a high end department store back in the day.  We then stopped by St. Mary’s Basilica where Pope John Paul II visited several years ago.  Our trip ended at Heritage Square and then we stoppped for a bite to eat at Front Row – TGIFriday’s restaurant inside Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball.

How did I do?  Where would you take friends or out of town guests to explore the heart of Phoenix?  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike.]